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15 Must-Try Foods and Drinks in Korean Convenience Stores (2023)

15 Must-Try Foods and Drinks in Korean Convenience Stores (2023)

While strolling down the streets of Seoul, South Korea, the sight of multiple convenience stores on a single block is commonplace. There are over 50,000 convenience stores across the country and CU, GS25, and 7-Eleven are the three largest and easy-to-find stores. Cup noodles, instant foods, and unique snacks are popular items, often triggering a rush to the stores when new products are released.

So, what do Koreans buy from these convenience stores? 

Cup Noodles 

One of the most popular items is cup noodles. Eating cup noodles at convenience stores evokes nostalgia for many Koreans, reminding them of their teenage years and early twenties. With such a high demand, Korean convenience stores offer a wide variety of cup noodles, from the ever-popular Shin Ramen and Jin Ramen to unique new flavors targeting trendy younger consumers.

Recommendations

1. 신라면 더 레드 (Shin Ramen The Red)

  • 1500 KRW
  • Newly Released spicy version of Shin Ramyun 
  • Twice as spicy as the original Shin Ramyun

2. 육개장사발면 (Yukgaejang Ramen)

  • 1000 KRW
  • One of the classics
  • Clean, deep, and spicy beef soup flavor

3. 불닭볶음면 (Buldak Ramen)

  • 1500 KRW
  • One of the most popular stir fried ramen in Korea
  • Extremely spicy because of its signature hot sauce
  • Multiple flavors including Carbonara and Cheese
  • As seen on Mukbang

(Click here to read our article about Korean Instant Coffee as seen on K-dramas)

4. 컵누들 마라탕 (Cup Noodle Malatang Flavor)

  • 1800 KRW
  • Newly released flavor of the Cup Noodle series
  • Famous for its low calorie of 150 kcal

5. 점보 도시락(Jumbo Dosirak Ramen) & 공간춘 쟁반 짬짜면 (Jjam Jja Ramen)

Jumbo Dosirak Ramen (Right) 

  • 8500 KRW 
  • Ridiculously big instant ramen of 8 servings
  • Limited edition, only available in GS25
  • Smaller version of one serving available for around 1500 KRW

Jjam Jja Ramen (Left)

  • 12300 KRW
  • Second edition of the giant instant ramen, also comprised of 8 servings
  • Mix of 공화춘 (Black Bean Sauce Noodle) and 간짬뽕 (Spicy Seafood Noodle)
  • Buy the products separately and mix them for a smaller portion (3000 KRW)
  • Limited edition, only available in GS25

Snacks

In addition to cup noodles, convenience stores also offer a range of snacks and instant foods. You can find a range of different flavors of kimbap, triangle kimbap, dosirak (Korean style bento) and even traditional soups. Convenience stores are also quick to release collaboration products with unique flavors. The hottest new snacks usually hit the convenience store shelves first, resulting in customers rushing to their nearest store. These new items sell out extremely fast, as Koreans are always on the lookout for the latest snacks.

Recommendations

1. 백종원 한줄김밥 (Paik’s Kimbap)

  • 1700 KRW
  • Basic yet fully stuffed and satisfying kimbap
  • This should taste the same as the frozen kimbap that is currently trending in the U.S.
  • All you have to do it is microwave it for 40 seconds and eat.
  • Only available in CU

2. 참치마요 삼각김밥 (Tuna Mayo Triangle Kimbap)

  • 1000 KRW
  • The most basic and widely consumed triangle kimbap flavor
  • Only available in GS25

3. 연세우유 크림빵 (Yonsei Milk Cream Bread)

  • 2700 KRW
  • Extremely creamy bread of different flavors

4. 매운 새우깡 (Spicy Shrimp Crackers)

  • 1500 KRW
  • Spicier version of the original shrimp crackers

5. 꼬북칩 (Turtle Chip)

  • 1500 KRW
  • Very addictive snack with flavors ranging from Corn Soup to Spicy

Beverages 

These convenience stores also have all kinds of beverages such as coffee, milk, traditional beverages, sodas, and even soju and beer. Convenience stores provide the convenience of finding various brands and types of drinks in one place. Exclusive brand drinks that can only be purchased at convenience stores have emerged, offering a variety of choices. 

Also, most of the beverages in convenience stores are ready to enjoy on the spot as they are fully equipped with refrigeration facilities. This is a great advantage, especially during the hot summer months or the cold and long winter months when you need a hot cup of coffee. You can also purchase the drinks you need at any time, depending on your lifestyle as convenience stores operate 24 hours a day. You can buy the drinks of your choice whether you're getting a cup of coffee on your way to work in the morning or buying a beer late at night after work.

Recommendations

1. 빙그레 바나나 우유 (Banana Milk)

  • 1800 KRW
  • Most basic yet delicious banana flavored milk

2. 뵈르 버터커피 (BEURRE Butter Coffee)

3. 갈아만든 배 (Korean Pear Drink)

  • 1400 KRW
  • Crushed pear juice helps people deal with sore throats and even hangovers.
  • Explore new traditional Korean beverages you can get in the States here.  

4. 비락식혜 (Sikhye)

  • 1500 KRW
  • Traditional Sweet Korean beverage made out of fermented malt and rice

5. 밀키스 (Milkis)

  • 1200 KRW
  • Refreshing milk-flavored soda

Don't forget, the Korean term for convenience store is 편의점 (pyeon-ui-jeom). Make sure to experience the unique culture these stores offer during your time in Korea!